British Columbia

Poll finds more transit funding unpopular whatever the source

The Insights West poll found that at least two thirds of respondents oppose increasing property taxes, increasing fuel taxes, tolling roads or increasing transit fares to pay for new transit projects. So is there any other way to get new funding?

The only thing respondents don't oppose? More money from the federal government

With the failure of the transit plebiscite in 2015 and with more than a million people expected to move to Vancouver in coming decades, where will the money for more transit funding come from? (Mike Laanela/CBC)

An Insights West poll shows about two thirds of Metro Vancouverites oppose increasing property taxes, increasing fuel taxes, tolling roads or increasing transit fares to pay for new transit projects.

Those numbers are no surprise to University of British Columbia political science PhD candidate David Moscrop, who specializes in the psychology of political decision-making.

"There's this perception we're being taxed, we're being taxed, we're being taxed, and there's a lot of ill-will towards the transit authority as well, which we saw lots of expressed during the plebiscite," he told On The Coast guest host Gloria Macarenko.

"But the problem is what you end up with is a situation where citizens are cutting off their nose to spite their face. At the end of the day, we're the ones who are going to shoulder the burden of a poor transit system in the long run, when we have a million more people here."

Moscrop says that since the plebiscite failed, politicians have been trying to find alternative sources of funding. But this poll seems to show that there are no acceptable sources of funding to Metro Vancouver voters.

However, poll respondents did indicate that they were open to politicians finding more of the money in the federal government.

"Of course, that's code for, 'we want other people to pay for our transit,'" Moscrop said. "Keep in mind, there's already federal money coming in … if there's going to be more, it's going to come from other provinces, other cities, other Canadians."

Moscrop says it seems unlikely voters will approve an alternate funding method for transit in the near future, and it could take concerted, years-long efforts to change their minds.

To hear the full interview, click the audio labelled: Poll finds Metro Vancouverites united in opposing more transit funding


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